Replacement glass shades for midcentury pendant lights — where to find them

Oops — the contractor broke the original glass shade on a midcentury pendant light fixture. Where to find a replacement? Maria writes: 

Hi! I was hoping you can help. We moved into a MCM home & are doing some renovations. We were keeping these two amazing original pendant lights in the entryway & now one of the contractors had hit one & broke the glass shade. Do you know where i can get a replacement, what the name of this particular style is, or have any suggestions on what i can do? I really loved these & am truly heart broken! Thanks! 


West Elm’s Geo pendant light — get the milk glass shade, though, for a midcentury look.

Thanks, Maria, and so sorry for the broken shade. In a search of the ‘usual suspects’ selling midcentury modern style lighting today, I turned up the West Elm Geo light fixture shown at the right. It might work for you in the “milk glass” shade, although I tend to believe your vintage originals were a satin, not milk, finish. In addition, I don’t know if the size will be the same.

That said, it’s a pretty good proxy. Beyond, West Elm: Crickets. Hence, I think your best answer is: Vintage.

The good news is that there were a lot of lights made back in the day — and we continue to see lots of vintage originals coming out of houses — or, New Old Stock out of closed lighting stores. So my suggestion: Start stalking vintage. Ebay is your best bet, because sellers use it to reach a wide market. Also check craigslist, local lighting stores, and salvage places. If you are willing to wait long enough — years, maybe even — you may find the exact same light. Or, you may be willing to settle for a proxy.

Vintage lighting companies to look for, by name

There were many companies making lighting in midcentury America. The biggest names to search for are: Moe (aka Thomas Industries), Progress, Virden, Imperalite, and Lightolier. If you can inspect one of your lights and see the name of the maker anywhere, that will help you narrow your search. More stories to consult:

Readers, any more ideas for Maria? 

  1. MJ says:

    Can you tell me what shape this light shade is, please? I am volunteering at a place that has 40 of these style shades. I have taken down and washed half of them and a quarter have cracks and one has been broken in the past. The shades are held on by little feet (for lack of terminology) that can be moved up or down to hold the shade on over the socket and they appear to be causing stress fractures over time. I believe they are pushing 70 years old if I had to guess. The shade is approximately 11-12″. Super cool but makes me very nervous cleaning them!

  2. Ruth says:

    Maria if you haven’t found the glass shade I have one exactly like what you’re looking for I accidentally broke one of mine and I ended up replacing them so I do have the glass shade you’re looking for .

  3. Scott says:

    Maria, you must have a big heart. I’m honestly not sure I’d have been able to forgive a contractor for that.

    The only thing I can add that might help in your search is to also look for swag lamps which you could have your electrician convert from a plug-in in to a pendant and/or borrow the shade if no pendants turn up.

    Good luck on your replacement search and thanks for reminding us we can’t be too cautious when having work done.

  4. Becky says:

    The Restore has helped us. We had 1 of our bathroom light covers just fall off one evening and of course could not find one that matched the other light for almost a year. About 2 weeks ago I checked the Restore and there were 2 light covers that matched each other and fit for $ 3 a piece. We replaced the broken 1 because it matched the other light enough and put the extra light cover up for just in case. Saw some on ebay but ey were pricey.

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